Police officers have issued a fresh warning about fraudster phone callers after people were conned out of more than £200,000 in just nine months.

Sussex Police have reminded residents not to be fooled by a crime wave in which phone callers posing as police officers or bank staff ask for bank and card details.

Conmen have been calling victims, fraudulently taking their details and sending couriers or taxis to collect cash and cards.

Recent variations include asking the victim to assist in a police investigation, telling the victim that there is a corrupt member of staff within the bank and asking for help in identifying them. They also introduce themselves as police officers and say they have detained two men who were trying to buy a Rolex watch.

Of the 356 incidents reported to police since September last year, 37 of them have resulted in money being handed over to the fraudsters at an average of nearly £6,000 per scam.

Detective Inspector Mick Richards said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your pin number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address in this manner.

“Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited.

“If you have any suspicions please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank.

“If you are asked to call back to confirm their identity, ensure you don’t do so for at least 20 seconds to ensure the phone line hasn’t been kept open, and if possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, or to contact a friend or relative to alert them.

“I urge anyone reading or hearing this message to pass it on to any friends and relatives who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud, to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.

“But it is really good to see that so many people are already heeding our advice, because although there have been some cases in which cash has been stolen, there have been many more incidents in which the would-be thieves achieved nothing.”